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Self-regulation in sustainable finance: The adoption of the Equator Principles

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  • Contreras, Gabriela
  • Bos, Jaap W.B.
  • Kleimeier, Stefanie

Abstract

Critical to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals is the extent to which financial institutions are willing to adopt voluntary regulation aimed at ensuring their actions contribute positively. We study the adoption of the most well-known set of rules, the Equator Principles, by applying a network approach to a unique data set containing 18,729 collaborations of financial institutions funding projects between 2003 and 2014 worldwide. We find that those exposed to the highest level of peer pressure by adopters are 33% more likely to also adopt, compared to those that face the lowest level of peer pressure. Even without this peer pressure institutions that already collaborate with adopters are more susceptible to become adopters themselves. Finally, external pressure applied through public campaigns increases adoption, although particularly large (and presumably powerful) institutions are immune to this external pressure. Our findings are particularly relevant for success of the recently launched Principles for Positive Impact Finance, that are heavily inspired by the Equator Principles.

Suggested Citation

  • Contreras, Gabriela & Bos, Jaap W.B. & Kleimeier, Stefanie, 2019. "Self-regulation in sustainable finance: The adoption of the Equator Principles," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 306-324.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:122:y:2019:i:c:p:306-324
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.05.030
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